How to use the Instant Pot: For Beginners

by Jennie on January 31, 2018

I worked with Kroger recently and mentioned a quick and easy recipe I use with some of their products in my Instant Pot and that is all it took! So many of my readers would dying to know…. does the Instant Pot REALLY work?! I decided to do a facebook live going into detail all the tips and tricks I have learned since having my Instant Pot. Check it out below! 

If you don’t have time to watch a full live or are just looking for something specific, here is an overview of what I talked about in order on the video. 

Buttons/ Pot Function Basics

  • Saute, Steam and Manual/Pressure Cook: these are the main buttons I use. 
  • Keep Warm: this will keep your food warm until you turn it off. 
  • Press the button (Manual/ Pressure Cook) and the + or – button until you reach your cook time. When it’s done, it will say L0:01 it is counting down. This is releasing pressure and keeping food warm 
  • When cooking you want the lever to be pointing to seal not vent. It is wobbly so don’t worry about that. You do want to make sure you clean it because it can get food debris in it.
  • Insert: only add food to your stainless steel insert NOT the inside of the Instant Pot!
  • Trick: You can hold your lid on the side so it doesn’t have to lay on the counter. If you are having trouble getting your lid on- line the arrow on the lid with the arrow on the pot and it goes on perfectly. 
  • The smell of your ring doesn’t effect the food, but you may want one for sweet and one for savory because that can make a difference. 


  • Quick release means you manually release the pressure immediately after the timer is finished. This prevents additional cooking of the food. This is not recommended for foods that have a large liquid volume or high starch content because it could splatter out with the steam.
  • Natural release means you allow the time to run out and go to L0:01 and son on which means you are letting the pressure release on its own (usually about 20 minutes), allowing the food to cook longer. NR your red meat like roast because it can get tough. 
  • When I release pressure I throw a towel over my knob just to keep the steam at bay. And if you have a lot of liquid, it helps to prevent a spill… You can also use a spoon or something to vent it so you aren’t venting it with your hand. 


  • Don’t let your kids open up the lid. I like to use the towel so the steam doesn’t get on me. You can use a spoon to open the venting mechanism. Do not overfill your inner pot (there is a fill line inside the pot). This IS a pressure cooker, so although it is very easy to use, you still need to use it safely. 



  • You can google or Pinterest crock to IP (I have that pinned) or google the recipe like stuffed peppers Instant pot. Great IP Groups on Fb. Use the search function in these groups and you will find great recipe ideas.  
  • Once a month meals: you can freeze meals in the shape of the pot and then just dump and cook! 
  • Raw ground beef you could put it in the pot in pot so it doesn’t get all greasy 
  • Frozen chicken breasts
  • Chicken and salsa: 15 min (Hand mixer or immersion blender to shred chicken)
  • Shredded chicken for carnitas, pizza, quesadillas, salad. Add pasta sauce and use over spaghetti squash 
  • Meatloaf: use pot in pot 
  • Hb eggs: 5 min, 5 min Nr, water bath
  • Egg salad or to use in potato salad: Pot in Pot. You can just crack them in a bowl and put the whole bowl in the pot! No ice bath or peeling required! Spray your bowl with a nonstick spray and add eggs. Add 1 cup of water, place trivet in the pot and then add your bowl with eggs. I cooked it on manual for 5 minutes with a natural release.
  • Fritatas
  • Spaghetti squash: 20 min 10 nr (put sauce with some water in the bottom and then lay the trivet and add your squash. One pot dish! 
  • Wings: 15 min QR and then add seasoning and sauce and broil for 5 minutes in the oven.
  • One pot spaghetti
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Crab legs in 2 min
  • Chili or any soups!

Hopefully this helps anyone who is just beginning. Please comment if you have any questions and I would be happy to help if I know the answer. It can be very intimidating so find a friend to learn with, join a group and be sure to watch my live! Happy Pressure Cooking! 

How to use the Instant Pot

If you are looking for specific accessories this is what I use.

The Instant Pot I have:
Accessories: Springform pan, Extra ring, Steamer basket, Corningware
Pinterest Board:…/…/
Plan to Eat (AWESOME meal planning website I use):
(affiliate links used)

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